Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explained the risks during a live Instagram session with actor Matthew McConaughey.
“If everyone has contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms… a lot of people are going to die,” Fauci said.
“You look at the United States of America with our obesity epidemic so to speak. With the number of people with hypertension. With the number of people with diabetes. If everyone were infected, the death toll would be huge and totally unacceptable. ” he said.
Herd immunity is achieved when about 70% to 90% of a population becomes immune to a disease either by infection and recovery or by vaccination. When this happens, the disease is less likely to spread to people who are not immune because there are simply not enough infectious carriers to reach them.
Tens of thousands more deaths are expected
The coronavirus has killed more than 167,000 people and infected more than 5.2 million nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In the next three weeks, that number will increase to a total of nearly 189,000 projected, according to an ensemble forecast released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New projections released Thursday predict 188,982 deaths by September 5 – with a possible range of 181,375 to 201,431 deaths.
“The overall state and territory forecast predicts that the number of new deaths reported per week could increase over the next four weeks in Colorado and decrease in Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont and the United States. Wyoming, ”the CDC said.
The prediction is based on about two dozen individual forecasts from outside institutions and researchers.
Unlike some individual models, CDC’s Ensemble Forecast only offers projections about a month in advance. A previous ensemble forecast, released on July 23, predicted around 164,477 coronavirus deaths by Saturday.
“You can’t run away from the numbers,” Fauci said. “You cannot run away from the number of people who have died, the number of people hospitalized, the surges that we are seeing. ”
The United States has averaged more than 1,000 daily deaths for 18 consecutive days.
Georgia records highest death toll since pandemic began
Georgia was one of the first states to reopen after being one of the last to close. This week, it recorded its highest death toll since the start of the pandemic.
The state reported 136 deaths on Tuesday – the most in a single day – and 109 more deaths on Wednesday, according to health officials. Its health department reported 2,674 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday. The virus has killed a total of 4,538 people in the state.
And in North Carolina, the Department of Health said an “error” had reduced the official total number of cumulative coronavirus tests performed since the start of the pandemic. The number increased from 2,044,727 to 1,823,283, said Dr Mandy Cohen, the state’s senior health official.
The error was due to a discrepancy between the electronic and manual reports of test data submitted by LabCorp. The error affected the total number of previously reported tests, but it does not change the total of confirmed positive cases, the total number of deaths or the calculation of the percentage positive, the health ministry said.
In a sign that the virus could be there for a while, Kansas City, Missouri, is extending its state of coronavirus emergency early next year. Emergency orders will be in effect until at least January 16, 2021.
“It is now obvious to everyone that Covid-19 will not go away in the next five months,” said Dr Rex Archer, director of the city’s health department.
Home party is like going to a bar, official says
As the long holiday weekend draws closer, officials warn of social events.
Admiral Brett Giroir, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, stressed the need for coronavirus mitigation measures over the Labor Day weekend. He urged people to avoid crowds – especially in indoor spaces.
“We’re talking about bars, but if you have a house party with a hundred people in your living room, it’s the same equivalent,” he says. He described crowds of people inside, drinking, talking and not wearing masks a formula for disaster.
“What you really need to do – whether you’re in a hot zone or not – please wear a mask,” Giroir said.
Good hand hygiene is also essential, he said.
CNN’s Steve Almasy, Dakin Andone, Andy Rose, Joe Sutton and Janine Mack contributed to this report.